Monday, January 14, 2013
Usually, hurricane-grade winds take their Thanksgiving vacation in the San Gabriel Valley. This year, when they failed to show, I thought we might be in for a bit of luck. But no, they were just spending extra time at the gym, beefing up their quads and abs.
And now in January, these guys have pulled into town, sometimes with advance reservations but usually just showing up like bad relations, plowing the Winnebago through the hedge, pounding on the front door in the middle of the night, a bottle of Rebel Yell in one hand and a bag of dirty laundry in the other.
What's the good thing about lying wide awake at 2 a.m.? What's the good thing about listening to the wind test your home's questionable insulation? What's the good thing about wondering whether that's dog gas or gas-gas you smell? What's the good thing about wondering which gas might prove more lethal?
The good thing is, you reach for the classics. The work you've always vowed to read before you die.
You know the ones I'm talking about -- Finnegan's Wake, Remembrance of Things Past, and anything set in a Russian prison camp.
As these could be your last moments on earth, might as well keep an old promise.
Last night, given the specific occasion, I chose Wuthering Heights.
I've only tackled Wuthering Heights from a cinematic perspective. i.e., I've seen the movie, sort of. Two or three different versions, sort of. And in every case, I've found Wuthering Heights similar to those dramatic love affairs we've all had (two is plenty, five indicates some therapy might be in order), where the intensity at the outset wears thin by the middle, and grows so tiresome you find a way to cheat and adjust the finish line.
On the night in question, and that would be the night of last, I left the bed, took my icy toes to the bookcase and pulled out a copy of Wuthering Heights.
Let me say this -- never ever doubt the classics. Half way into the second paragraph, I was sleeping like a baby.
Which just goes to prove, genius takes many forms, but most of all, it brings us what we need when we need it.
I don't know when circumstances will drive me to that third paragraph, but I take comfort in the fact it's there, waiting.